Hi Richard. Thank you so much for your suggestion - I will certainly update my profile! What an honor to be invited to the next Amplify workshop. It would be a great pleasure. Please do keep us updated on the details for the next workshop, as my colleague Rami mentioned below, he will be in Uganda in the coming few weeks. One of the team members of our organization, Become, was in Kampala, compiling an evaluation of the program, found out about the challenge and forwarded it to us. I am certainly glad she did! Thank you, Richard, I look forward to being in touch!
I wanted to also include a response from my teammate, Dr. Rami Gudovitch:
I would like to add a few points to Ben’s answer:
Presently, our Come True project ensures the education of 119 S. Sudanese kids who were deported from Israel within an excellent education Institution in Kampala. What is unique about the Come True project is that it succeeded not merely in securing the futures of a significant number of refugee children (and we hope to include many more in the coming future) but from it have emerged fascinating working relations between educators of very different backgrounds and origins: Ugandans, Israelis, S. Sudanese, Eritreans, Darfourians and Americans.
We have learned that the challenges faced by educators and students in present global reality are very similar, regardless of background beliefs, social conventions or religious commitments. We have learned to work together, parents and other community members. However, as time passed, we also learned the shortcoming of the sponsorship program. Many children of refugee background, due to constant transit and fleeing danger, did not receive, at a crucial age, a sufficient degree of stability to build the academic skills necessary for a successful integration into the demanding academic system within the society in which they have found themselves.
We realised that the sponsorship program simply leaves these kids behind. And there are many of them. In fact, I would guess that many of the 1.4 million S. Sudanese children that, according to recent figures, lack any schooling solution, are children whose chances to reintegrate within the “academic” education system are rather low. That means that if reintegration into school would not do much good to them. As sad as we all know it is, the present global reality dictates that we should think also on maximising the chances of children that have little chance,if any to graduate successfully from school.
And this is where the “Be The One” platforms kicks in. The platform was engineered to give an advantage to anyone, whether she is already part of some education system or not, that is, even if her life as a refugee deprived her from the chances to integrate within the conventional education system. And for that, we were designing, together with local educators and community members, a program that would fit all. The goal of the program is the maximise skills, capacities, knowledge and personal traits that are necessary to cope with real world reality for anybody, but especially for someone whose life did not supply her with sufficient stability.
Our advantage is that we have the connections, the capacity to bring in forces from within the community, forces from other refugee communities and international forces. Our future goal is to build a school in S. Sudan and we have recently returned from a visit in Juba as guests of the Ministry of Education and we had some fantastic meetings with major positive forces in the young country. We met with the Minister of Education, Dr. John Gat Nyuot Yoh and joined forces with Mr. Hakim Monikuer Awuok, from the Ministry, that will be our person on ground all during the project. We also have other connections within S. Sudan, that is, connection with various international organisations as well as to technologies such as for installing satellite internet, for the use of light and cheap building materials and the best is that the people that will actually put things on ground are themselves former refugees that are making their first steps to reintegrate in the young country albeit the harsh challenges and security concerns.
We believe this is a chance to do something small, but big, something that can be replicated and yield impact with so many, something that involves partnership with many individuals, organisations and communities. We really look forward to bringing this wonderful idea to the ground, and working with a tremendous group of youth who we know will be instigators of change in their lives and in the lives of their communities.
This is Dr. Rami Gudovitch, from Be The One platform, using the same user with my project partner, Ben Vorspan's, Thank you for your insightful account and proposal. Also, thank you for your comments on our Be The One proposal. Your methods of dealing with vulnerable and traumatised youth are extremely relevant to our activities in S. Sudan and in Uganda. Most children in our program are of refugee background and they have, sadly, witnessed it all and in most cases, spent long period of times in detention facilities and refugee camps. We will be very happy to learn more and to share some of our insights and experiences. My email for further communication, if you are interested, is firstname.lastname@example.org. Rami.